Did you know that 71% of Americans hate their jobs? Even if you didn’t know the exact percentage, if you’ve ever worked in a cubicle, you probably had an inkling that it was a substantial number. That is why it’s so commendable when people decide to start their own business and do something they truly love to do.
As a startup, there are many things on an entrepreneur’s plate: deciding on a name, filing the required paperwork with the state, obtaining adequate funding… Should hiring a PR expert really be included on the ‘To Do’ list? A simple Google search will show you that several articles advise against it, due to how onerous the cost can be to a person who’s just starting out.
Before you nix the idea of hiring a PR firm based solely on the expense, take into account the following factors:
Public Relations is NOT the same as Marketing
Marketing is a great way to reach your end customer. It is an undeniable necessity once you have designed your product and identified your target audience. But, Public Relations involves all of your new businesses’ stakeholders. It commits itself to protecting your brand integrity, establishing your company’s value in the marketspace, and ensures that your message is consistently precise and authentic.
Think of it this way- Marketing is the outfit you wear to get noticed when you go to a club, but PR is what gets you into the club without waiting in line and maybe even lands you a good table.
PR helps build your brand
In order to get loyal followers, you have to establish a brand; and the only way to do that is to create some sort of connection with your target customer demographic. PR experts know exactly what needs to be done to heighten that brand recognition. PR experts can also introduce you and your brand to some whales in your industry. While you may see them as a direct competitor or too big to possibly care about your new small business, a PR expert knows that if your brand recognition is good enough, that whale may just want a piece of it. Worried about being thought of as a sell-out? Don’t be. Your PR expert has an obligation to protect your brand integrity.
How many contacts do you have in the media?
PR firms send out pitches for a living, and established ongoing relationships with contacts in TV, print and radio media. It takes time to network and nurture those relationships. When someone is starting a business, do they really have the time for that? A good PR Firm can tell you who to talk to, when to do it, and oh, by the way, that editor is on the phone right now and their middle child is named Jimmy. Jimmy likes swimming, but Jimmy hates the ocean. Jimmy spends a lot of time in the tub. I would wager that Google doesn’t know Jimmy, or his well-connected parent, nearly as intimately as your PR professional does.
Finally, as your brand recognition grows, the more vulnerable your brand becomes to controversy. We all live on social media these days, so you are all too aware of the amount of people lurking out there behind their screens waiting for you to make a misstep, only to then wreak havoc upon your hard-earned reputation. Maybe you tweeted too late at night, and the brain hiccup you experienced because of your fatigue has come back to bite you. PR Experts know how to right the ship when a wave of controversy, deserved or not, comes crashing at you.
The choice is there: you can read a couple of articles and blogs on how to do public relations, and attempt to do it on your own or you can hire experts to do it for you. We do this every day. We know what works and what’s obsolete. You already have a full agenda.